The Theodore Edson Parker Foundation was established in 1944 in Lowell, Massachusetts, under a charter that reflected the founder’s interest in a wide range of community needs. Because of the many compelling needs and opportunities in that city, the foundation has chosen to focus its grantmaking there.


Fields of Interest and Types of Support

The Parker Foundation’s primary goal is to make effective grants that benefit the city of Lowell and its residents. Grants are made for a variety of purposes including social services, cultural programs, community development activities, education, community health needs, and urban environmental projects. The foundation funds specific needs including special programs and projects, capital improvements and equipment purchases, and technical assistance. The trustees do not usually award funds for the operating expenses of well-established organizations, for endowment, or to fund deficits. Grants are restricted to organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and are classified as “not a private foundation” under Section 509(a). No awards are made to individuals.

In his will, Mr. Parker suggested that his trustees give special consideration to the welfare of children, disadvantaged young women, and the elderly. The foundation is especially committed to assisting these and other under-served individuals including refugees, immigrants, and people of color. Preference is given to applicants who have formulated creative approaches to societal problems and can provide leverage for Parker funds. The foundation favors projects that can demonstrate good prospects for continuation after the conclusion of Parker’s funding. Please visit Past Grants for a list of recently funded projects.


Proposal Deadlines and Meeting Schedule

The trustees usually meet twice a year for grantmaking purposes: in April/May, and November/December. Proposal deadlines for these meetings are

• January 15* (April/May)
• July 15* (November/December)

*When a deadline falls on the weekend, applications will be due the following business day.

Applicants are limited to one application per year. Grant recipients should expect to wait two years before submitting a new request. Applicants whose requests have been denied normally are expected to wait one year before reapplying.


Online Application Procedures

Organizations interested in applying to the foundation are welcome to contact staff prior to applying.  Thereafter, applicants are encouraged to apply online.

To register in application system:

  1. Click on Create New Account
  2. Enter your personal contact information
  3. Enter your organization’s contact information
  4. Click on the Proceed to Next Step button

After you have registered your account you will be directed to the Application Status Page.

  1. Start New Application – This allows you to review the available grants and apply.  Enter “parker” as the Access Code.
  2. Application Status – This is your homepage where you can check on the status of your grants.  This page will display the form you just filled out, what its status is, and what the next form will be.

In addition to the on-line application, organizations will need to upload the following attachments:

  • a list of board members, with an indication of their organizational affiliations, special skills, and links to the community
  • a completed diversity form detailing racial and ethnic compositions of board, staff, and constituents. This form is tailored to Lowell and may be found here: Lowell Diversity Form.
  • a copy of the organization’s most recent audited financial statements
  • a copy of the most recent IRS Form 990, with all attachments and schedules
  • a current organizational budget, including projected income and expenditures
  • bio statements or resumes of key project staff
  • a project budget, including line-item detail on sources of revenue and salary expenditures

The Form 990-PF may be found at


Newell Flather, President
Karen H. Carpenter, Vice President
David W. Donahue, Jr., Treasurer
Luis Pedroso
Sophy Theam, Clerk

Foundation Staff
Philip Hall
Chaletta Huertas
Elizabeth Drewry

Theodore Edson Parker Foundation
c/o GMA Foundations
2 Liberty Square, Suite 500
Boston, Massachusetts 02109

Phone: 617-391-3094